Indian monthly magazine The Northeast Today aka TNT has said India decided to fence Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya from zero line.
“Call it the fear for ISIS or steps to enhance security, the Ministry of Home Affairs has for sure solved the vexed Indo-Bangla border fencing issue that had gone sore in Meghalaya by deciding to carry on the border fencing from the ‘Zero Line’,” said the magazine in an article styled “After a long wait, MHA finally decides to fence border from Zero Line” in its latest issue.
It read that the Ministry of Home Affairs has certainly given Meghalaya’s agitating border populace a reason to smile by deciding to carry on the border fencing from the zero line.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier today held a meeting with senior officials of 5 bordering states on Indo-Bangladesh Border which includes Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram to review the situation in the light of heightened threat perception of infiltration along the porous border. During the course of the meeting, it was decided that in order to mitigate the problem of Indian villages located between fence and border and to enhance security along IBB, it was decided that fence will be shifted towards the zero line to bring Indian villages within the fence,” the magazine added.
Years and counting since fencing along the Meghalaya stretch of Indo-Bangla international border started, however stiff opposition from several quarters had kept the project at bay, read the magazine.
The magazine article adds: “People have been protesting the government’s earlier move to fence 150 yards from the international border citing that half of their agricultural land would be lost and if this decision is applicable in Meghalaya, then it is a welcome relief for the people and the pending fencing work will surely see the light of the day,” said Border Area Development Minister, Prestone Tynsong.
He however, said that the demands made by Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB) to realign the whole stretch from Dawki to Muktapur will be a little difficult after the inking of the Land Swap Deal.
Meanwhile, BSF DIG (G) Meghalaya Frontier, Sushil Kr Singh feigned ignorance on the decision of the MHA stating that he was out of station.
On the other hand, KSU president Daniel Khyriem while welcoming this decision however, said that the demand of the Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB), in which KSU is also a member, is not to fencing the border from the zero line but the realign the whole stretch to identify the exact pillar stating that if the border is fenced, the entire agricultural land will fall under Bangladesh and this would be a big loss to the people of the state who depend solely on cultivation of betel nuts and betel nut leaves.
“It is true that the decision to fenced the border from the zero line is in line with the threat perception of militants crossing over,” Khyriem said but how much of an impact it will have on the people living in the border areas, is something which needs to be looked into.
When asked whether realigning the whole stretch is possible after Land Swap Deal agreed upon between India and Bangladesh, the KSU leader said that to invoke people to agree upon the arrangement made is comical as the Government of India should have consider the plight of the people living it the border areas of Meghalaya, before signing the deal.
“The failure of the district administration and the state government to convey the message across to the GOI when the survey was conducted prior the agreement shows that there is a big lapse on the part of the government and the same will affect the people to a large extend,” he added.
It was also informed that the state governments were asked to expedite land acquisition for Border Infrastructure works.